turin: a passion for jean prouvé

©  galerie patrick seguin - the direction no. 353 office chair [1951] - bent sheet steel, steel tube, sheet aluminum, leatherette and wood

the city of turin hasn't appeared much on our radar, but this fantastic exhibition at the pinacoteca giovanni e marella agnelli - a rather stunning venue designed by italian starchitect renzo piano on top of the historic lingotto building - makes us believe it has all the while been undeservedly so. called a passion for jean prouvé - from furniture to architecture, the show presents beautiful pieces of furniture and architecture by french designer jean prouvé from the collection owned by laurence and patrick seguin. the paris-based gallerists discovered prouvé's work in the late 1980s through his furniture designs and at the time he was hardly known. this quickly changed when they opened their gallery and pushed prouvé's work into the global limelight.

presented at the pinacoteca giovanni e marella agnelli are around 40 pieces by jean prouvé, most of which are prototypes or extremely rare items, from the armchair that he designed for the university dormitory of nancy in 1932 and the light armchair created for the cité universitaire d'antony in 1954, to furniture pieces specifically produced for africa. the same principles of functionality and rational fabrication applied by the designer to furniture can also be found in his architectural designs. prouvé's maison métropole is an aluminium construction that won a competition held by the french ministry of education in 1949 for a mass-producible rural school with classroom and teacher accommodation. a masterpiece of nomadic housing, the design follows the portico principle patented by prouvé in 1939.

the ateliers jean prouvé built two of them, one in bouqueval, near paris, and the other in vantoux in the moselle region. the one on display at the exhibition has been erected for the first time on the lingotto building's rooftop track. it took three days to construct the house and a special  stop-motion film has documented the process. also included in the show are contemporary art works by jean-michel basquiat, adam mcewen and marc grotjahn which are all part of, what must be, the very stylish decorum of laurence and patrick seguin's private home in the french capital [on through sep 8]. location: via nizza 230/103 [lingotto].

© galerie patrick seguin / photography: nicolas bergerot - exhibition space, maison métropole and its interior [top to bottom]